Andy Harris needs to represent all of District 1: why his vote on the Farm Bill was wrong

Dear Governor Hogan,

Since your re-election, one of the major issues that you have sought to address is Gerrymandering in the State of Maryland, even going as far as to create a commission to redraw the 6th congressional district.  In order to fully and fairly committed to non-partisan redistricting, it is crucial you speak out and get serious about ending Gerrymandering in District one. A majority of the district is the Eastern Shore, yet year after year our representative in Congress doesn’t live anywhere near the Shore or understand our way of life.  That severely limits the Eastern Shore’s power and ability to represent itself in order to better meet the needs at the Federal level.  This is illustrated as our current Representative Andy Harris from Cockeysville in Baltimore County voted against the Farm Bill despite the Shore’s economy being overwhelmingly based on farming. This isn’t the only time Representative Harris has voted against the interests of the Shore in Congress.  His commitment to anti-immigration policies and inability to compromise left crab houses across the Shore without visa workers during the busy season. Despite having a record of voting against the needs of the majority of his district, Dr. Harris has felt no impact from these decisions because he lives nowhere near the significantly impacted areas and has little skin in the game when it comes to making sure the Eastern Shore gets what it needs to thrive.  That leads into the second major issue with how District One is currently drawn. The City of Cockeysville is over three and a half hours away from areas like Crisfield and has completely different ways of life and needs within the community than the Shore. Having a representative from Cockeysville doesn’t accurately portray the needs and views of the majority of the district and creates a district in which Dr. Harris cannot be held accountable for decisions that hurt our region due to how unfairly the map is drawn.     

One of the biggest campaign promises you made in 2014 and again in 2018 is “Giving an open ear and a seat at the table” to the Eastern Shore.  In order to fully do that, you must do the right thing in the situation--not the easy thing--and fairly redraw Maryland’s Congressional District One so the Shore can have a representative that will vote for our interests and has vested interests when it comes to the success or failure of the Shore.  I am fully aware of the political blowback you may receive from your party for drawing a district that cuts out the only incumbent Republican Congressperson in the state, but it is important to remember by fairly redrawing District One, the odds are that another Republican will be elected to that seat.  However, this Republican will actually represent and have a stake in our region giving us the representation we need. All eyes are watching you, Governor Hogan; please do the right thing and give the Shore the voice it desperately needs.

 

Signed,

Jared Schablein

Pittsville (Wicomico County)

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